Topstitching a Waistband

When the MyFit Joggers released, a common question in the Apostrophe Patterns FB Group was how to topstitch an separate encased elastic waistband.

(Image from MyFit Jogger waistband selection screen.)

Topstitching a waistband is aesthetically pleasing, but is also practical and useful. Elastic can twist inside a waistband, which causes discomfort and can affect the way your garment sits on your body. Topstitching the waistband prevents the elastic from twisting, and therefore, can increase comfort. 

Topstitching the waistband will take place after the waistband has been attached to the garment, elastic is inserted, and the hole used to insert the elastic has been closed. Your waistband should look similar to below. The fabric will gather on itself since the elastic is smaller than the waistband.



After the waistband is attached with the elastic inside, determine how many rows of topstitching you would like based on how wide your elastic is. Mark where you want your topstitching to be and use a seam gauge, if desired, to be sure you have straight topstitching.

In the image below, I used 2" (5cm) elastic. I opted for 2 rows of topstitching, each approx. 5/8" (1.5cm) from the seam and the top edge of the waistband. My stitching lines are marked by 2 pins.

Use a straight stitch. Stretch the elastic by holding the waistband/elastic with both hands, one behind the presser foot and the other in front. You want the elastic to be stretched as much as you can without stretching the waistband. Sew completely around the waistband, maintaining stretch of the elastic. You will need to stop and reposition your hands as you make your way around the waistband.  Be sure that you are not tugging on or pushing the waistband, but are applying stretch only and allowing the feed dogs to move the waistband through the machine.

Stretching the elastic is important to this method. Without keeping the elastic stretched, your elastic will be limited, stitches will pop, and your finish will not be even.

When you have reached the start of your stitches, backstitch a few stitches to secure your topstitching.

Then repeat this process for the next lines of topstitching until you have completed your desired amount. You will need to stretch the elastic for each row of topstitching.

When you release the elastic, you will have a nicely gathered waistband.


Thanks for joining me today and learning how to finish an elastic waistband with topstitching. ~Cynthia

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